Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Tabletop gaming's most coveted trophy is a burned book"

The Diana Jones Award may as well be the tabletop world’s Stanley Cup.

As the website says, it’s given each year to "anyone and anything within the games industry and hobby ... [including] individuals, products, publications, publishers, distributors, retailers, clubs, organisations, conventions, events, trends, innovations and concepts." Past awardees have included the revolutionary card game Dominion, Will Wheaton’s TableTop web series and the novel role-playing game Fiasco.

Each year the awardee is chosen by a secretive group of individuals whose identities are withheld in order to preserve the integrity of the process. The committee — which is known to include author and game designer Matt Forbeck, artist and writer John Kovalic and designer James Wallis — is invitation only.

But literally what is the award? Well, it’s the very last copy of the The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game, a poorly-received RPG published by TSR in 1984. As the legend goes, sales of the book were so abysmal the the publisher set the last remaining copies ablaze rather than pay to have them thrown away.